Walking summary and WA trip

My walking location :)
My walking location 🙂

Here’s how I went:  I walked a total of 101.88km (62.2 miles), for a total time of 15.25 hours.  Sadly, whilst I was in Perth visiting the BF’s family, I did only two walks, one long walk alone from the hotel to the longest jetty in the southern hemisphere in Busselton (1hr 11 minutes and a distance of 7.8km – both are records), and a shorter walk around the neighbourhood with the BF which I didn’t track and include in that total.  I projected my total number of hours and kilometers after the first week or so, and hoped to walk 103.5 km over 19 hours.  It seems holidayitis attacked me.  I should really have gotten up and walked, seeing as I woke at 5am more often than not.  I’m not sure if it was the 3hr time difference or me getting used to early waking, but I didn’t know how I might fill the hours after the walk until ‘normal’ people awaken whilst away.  Excuses, I know :p

The beach and the start of Busselton Jetty
The beach and the start of Busselton Jetty

On the up side, I loved walking in the early morning.  I loved the crisp air, and the city before it’s truly bustling.  I love being alone to think and wake up.  Some days, gosh darn did I curse that alarm!  But over time, I came to realise I much preferred to walk in the morning than delay it to later in the day.  I will certainly aim to keep this routine up to some extent even if not every day, or increasingly further distances.  I should probably look to intersperse some jogging in there too, to work up to this half marathon running goal.

Busselton jetty
Jetty building over the shallow beach waters


2014 Goals

This is a ‘live’ post where I update my goals, changes, and plans.  I hope you enjoy the links I add!

Last year, I set goals in a number of different categories of life, and tracked them almost every month with another post.  I think I’ll continue with this idea in the coming year too, but naturally, the goal posts will adjust to suit the things I learnt!

Hold onto your hats everyone, there’s a lot in this post.  I find monthly tracking helps me to achieve things, so that’s why there’s so much laid out here, ambitious as it may seems.

Fun – 12 in 2 list

I’ll start with the ‘nice’ stuff – which I’ve posted about previously, as my 12 in 2 goals – 12 things I want to do in 2 years, and most of them are ‘bucket list’ style items.

For 2014, I’ll do the following (some of which I did earmark to do in 2013, but it didn’t happen):

  1. Silent retreat – some time after the half marathon in July (cause you can’t run at these 10 day retreats)
  2. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb I got a voucher as a birthday gift in January 2014!!!
  3. Go jet skiing (done over the Christmas holidays)
  4. Learn to surf
  5. Dinner at Aria: planned for early February
  6. Read the new testament bible Done in September
  7. Run a half marathon could do it at the Gold Coast in July (it’s a super flat course), already booked the flights
  8. Plan and prepay my funeral – cough cough, not so fun
  9. Zorbing (a weekend away at the Gold Coast)  The place went out of business…

Health – monthly challenges

Why the water challenge and the coffee challenge are in different months! source: http://www.someecards.com/usercards/viewcard/MjAxMy1kNjdmZWUyN2QxYzMxNjAw
Why the water challenge and the coffee challenge are in different months!
source: http://www.someecards.com/usercards/viewcard/MjAxMy1kNjdmZWUyN2QxYzMxNjAw

As I mentioned in late November, I will look at creating ‘get healthy’ monthly challenges of better healthier habits.  I started earlier than the new year cause I felt the need to lose some weight, and the Christmas season is as good a time to start as any.

Each month I’ll dedicate one post to introducing the challenge (and encouraging others to join in), a post or two on my progress and a post to wrap up the challenge and the success or failure.  Here’s my rough plan, subject to change:

Jan: Stair challenge start, progress, end
Feb: Drink 3L water per day: start
Mar: Squats and abandoned 🙁
Apr: Push up challenge – increase the number everyday
May: Morning stretching/yoga
Jun: Planking challenge
Jul: Mental health: daily act of kindness
Aug: Mental health: daily gratitude journal
Sept: 1 internet free day per week
Oct: Ocsober
Nov: Coffee free challenge
Dec: +1 walking

I’ve been slowly trying to start Jan & Feb’s goals in December, but each month I will commit to doing it every day!

Financial goals

I prefer my fingernails bare, but this is amazing, and just like Aussie money source: http://www.morenailpolish.com/2013/01/aussie-nails-show-me-money.html
I prefer my fingernails bare, but this is amazing, and just like Aussie money
source: http://www.morenailpolish.com/2013/01/aussie-nails-show-me-money.html

This is one category I always kick a** at!  So, for 2014, I will:

1. Save $20,000 in my mortgage offset account (in addition to the starting balance) as of mid Sepetmber, met this, and aimed higher (hopefully anotehr $15k by year end)

2. Save $200 a week in for holidays yep, it’s all automated

3. Save $10 $20 a week for my ‘one day’ dream of a first class holiday to Paris and NYC (First class flights and accommodation).  I plan to spend 20 years saving slowly for this one. $20 per week, cause why not!

4. Save $100 a week for ‘charity’ which I will also withdraw from when I do support fundraising etc. automated too my friend!

This is in addition to savings plans that already tick over weekly for bills and health insurance, and a weekly contribution to the church.


Plan a dinner party or similar once a quarter. Started with a pizza night for polo girl in Jan 🙂 Easy and fun. Excess cheese? Informal wine and cheese Sunday arvo. 2 down, 3 to go! 3 down, 1 to go – another polo dinner of Nachoes.  Tempted to do something for Halloween..n

Inspiration for the zen I'll try to create source: www.sheknows.com
Inspiration for the zen I’ll try to create
source: www.sheknows.com

Email my brother at least weekly whilst he’s in South America (until Sept 2014)


Ekk, seeing I didn’t submit my 16 x 700 words long episode reports in 2013, this goal will role over.

I will also start to think more (again) about the next step in my career. Whilst I wasn’t thinking about it, someone was, and I’ve been acting in a promotion of a role for a few months.  And I’ll apply for the position when it’s advertised

Keeping it Creative

I’ve realised that I like to create things, like my gingerbread house, or the candy cane wreath.  I really enjoy mending clothes, or sewing.  I even made a map of the world with stamps!  So I’m going to try and do more of these sorts of things.  One crafty thing per month.  Pinterest and blogs will guide me, I hope.

I’ve covered my router with a hard cover book; made earphone holders out of old plastic cards; cross stitched a baby’s blanket…

Summer Bucket List

Oh you Americans, or is it just the subset that pin (on Pinterest)?

I didn’t know of these summerbucket lists til recently, but as a blog called ‘Live to List’, yes, I too want a summer bucket list!

Here’s what I have, some of these things have been completed, as Summer in Australia starts on 1 Dec.  Some of these are also planned, and I’ll elaborate on each point.  Here goes:

You couldn't ask for a pool with a better view source:www.uec.edu.au
You couldn’t ask for a pool with a better view. My photos are further down


  • Walk the 14 km harbour foreshore walk: previously you couldn’t walk on public land all around Sydney Harbour, but with the development at Barangaroo, you now can.
  • Complete the ‘Bay Run’
  • Clear the greater than 24 month tasks at work (3) (wow, that one is exciting, isn’t it!) This was magically achieved… not sure when, but overall, I’m killing it in the stats, and helping other portfolios ‘clean house’
  • Go to a movie at the Open Air Cinema (sales opened today… and the allocation for the day sold out on films I liked) – Alas, they sold out, and I never did wait in line on the night of to see if I could get tickets.
  • Get a photo strip done with the BF in lieu of any more gifts, I asked the BF to come to the photo booth with me.  It has a real rustic look, slightly sepia toned.  It was good fun, though we’ll be better prepared last time, the flash caught us by surprise the first time!
  • Start a herb garden then it died from an infestation.  I shall try again, using offshoots from friends.
  • Chip away at visiting all the pictured beaches (sorry I’ve forgotten the source!) with the BF, we’ve been to: Maroubra, Manly, Bondi (though not to swim), Dee Why, I think it was Queenscliffe?, we’ve walked Bondi to Bronte, but not swum any
Not really all of them...
Not really all of them…

It seems putting things on a list does wonders for me getting things done! I did the Bay Run and the pool visit in this past weekend! The bay run was through a organisation my father introduced me to (he beat me at the 7km run too – I took 47 minutes, I’d hoped for 45 minutes).  We signed up on the morning of the run, and I think having it on the list was enough to make me commit to it.

The BF took me to the pool on Saturday to cool down.  It’s incredible to see the scale of the bridge built so long before sky scrapers, next to a pool.  Here’s some more photos of it:

Pool under Sydney Harbour Bridge
Real life
Close up of the eyes of Luna Park
Close up of the eyes of Luna Park
I swim a lot - I've never seen such prescriptive signs!
I swim a lot – I’ve never seen such prescriptive signs!
The best pool in the place
The best pool in the place

What things are you hoping to get done in this season? Hopefully you have some fun things on there, not just doom and gloom and household ‘musts’! Let me know

Gingerbread House!

On some list, somewhere, I knew I wanted to make a gingerbread house this Christmastime.  I kept putting it off on weekends past, to snuggle on the sofa and read blogs and watch TV shows.  But this past weekend, a friend wanted to catch up, and so I decided we could build our first ever gingerbread house.  Come on, two engineers, what could be better? (Answer: two civil or structural engineers! Electrical engineers aren’t ideal).

Let’s start with making the pieces, from this template:

Cutting out the walls
Cutting out the walls

I didn’t use the recipe attached to the above template, instead using this, but adding all spice and nutmeg that other recipes mentioned.  I also decided against the window, as I didn’t have boiled lollies on hand for the cooking.

While they cooled, we headed to the shops for decorations:

What a haul - about $26 worth! We didn't use them all and my friend took a lot of them home with her
What a haul – about $26 worth! We didn’t use them all and my friend took a lot of them home with her

From directions elsewhere, we decorated before constructing. I think if kids were decorating, you’d want to build it first, cause construction is slow.


Here’s the start of construction:

We were worried it wouldn’t hold together when we put the first roof panel on, so we did some temporary bracing (in Christmas colours!)

Longchamp ribbon for the win
Longchamp ribbon for the win

One of the roof panels was a little thick and not cooked to a crisp (which I prefer). So we decided on some structural reinforcements!

Bamboo skewers use 45
Bamboo skewers use 45
Fully constructed

After a date night to the movies, I put the last roof panel on, to dry overnight:

Sadly, the first roof panel we put on slipped a bit, and stuck lower than intended. Or we wanted a row of light to enter the house, and did this intentionally, you decide?

All this, right off the bat from making a candy cane wreath on Thursday night, remember?

Crafty Thursday
Crafty Thursday

I’m so chuffed with our house! I’m not sure what to do with it now though! I am thinking of taking it to show at Sunday School’s Christmas party, but as to who gets to finally deconstruct it and eat it… I don’t know… Any winning thoughts?

Candy Cane Wreath

It’s not perfect, but I’m proud of it!  I found the link to Millionayre’s blog through Lois at LivingSimplyFree‘s wonderful round ups of Christmas craft.  Hot glue gun + a cut up Chinese plastic food container lid + almost 40 candy canes ($4 from the dollar store).  And a late night on Thursday night:

Crafty Thursday
Crafty Thursday

On the same night, I prepared some gingerbread dough.  A friend is coming around soon, and we’ll make it into a house (houses?) and then decorate.  What a great idea, right, when we were ‘just’ going to go out for dinner.  I love having someone to help me with this little task – I’ve been putting it off for a few weeks, but this kicked me into action.  I’ll (of course) post some photos in due course too.

+1 Walking Challenge Update

Well it’s been less than week since I officially ‘started’ the +1 Walking Challenge on the blog, but in reality, I’ve been at it almost a week.  I thought I’d take the time to check in with my progress, to stay accountable, and have you rally and cheer me on!

Date Distance




Real cumulative time totals Planned daily target time Planned  time totals
04/12/2013 2.5 23.5 3.88 22 2.92
03/12/2013 3.75 29 3.49 21 2.55
02/12/2013 2.24 19 3.01 20 2.20
01/12/2013 5.03 38 2.69 19 1.87
30/11/2013 2.76 34 2.06 18 1.55
29/11/2013 3.57 30 1.49 17 1.25
28/11/2013 1.65 16.5 0.99 16 0.97
27/11/2013 2.42 16 0.72 15 0.70
26/11/2013 2.09 14 0.45 14 0.45
25/11/2013 1.87 13 0.22 13 0.22

Firstly, this has been harder than I thought it would be!  On Thursday morning, I got up to the sound of rain, got dressed, and promptly ploped back in bed.  I told myself I would do it that afternoon (ie now, when I’m drafting this).  But then I got home, and the finale of Season 1 of Homeland was more luring.  And the chocolate bits reserved for making brownies, they were also pretty darn attractive.

Somewhere I'd like to run (I was there for work) - Kirribilli
Somewhere I’d like to run (I was there for work) – Kirribilli

Then, I rested on the fact that my cumulative total time is way ahead of my planned time for this date (even with a start back a week ago).  It helps that I had two longer walk/runs on the weekend.

As I’ve touched on elsewhere, I’m still training for water polo and playing each once a week.  So, overall, I’ve really ‘upped’ my exercise.  Not surprisingly, I’m hungrier now too! I think I need to plan to have some filling HEALTHY snacks. (I have thankfully finished the cooking chocolate and feel sick, so that’ll teach me!)

I’ll continue this walking – with Christmas and other temptations, there’s every *need* to continue exercising!

How have others fared in their challenges?  Are you keeping up with an extra minute every day, on average?  Are you feeling hungrier too?  Anyone feel skinnier yet? (No!)

Le Diner en Blanc – Sydney

On Saturday, I was invited to join in an exclusive international event – Diner en Blanc.  As the name suggests, it started in France, and it’s a dinner in white.  The tradition started many years ago when a group of French friends decided to reunite after years of living abroad – but how would they recognise one another?  They decided they would all dress in white for a picnic.  However, their planned location was a somewhat fancy area, so they all decided not only to dress in white, but to dress up!  Since this first picnic, the idea has grown in size, and geographical location.

Nowdays, the event grows through attendees each year being able to invite some friends the following year.  But space is limited, and logging into the website is best done with military precision (for once I was thankful for my early work hours).  The venue remains a surprise until groups meet at various meeting points around the city.  You pay a small fee to attend and this covers a coach to the secret location (and all the other logistics – such as some shared lighting, security and a DJ).

Last year, the Sydney event was held at Circular Quay, outside the Museum of Modern Art.  This year, it was held on Bondi Beach.

Guests clad in white, are also required to bring their own table and chairs, white table cloth, cloth napkins and ‘real’ crockery and cutlery.  Glass is not permitted, so plastic cups are OK.  (You can imagine how pleased I am with an event for 3,000 people encouraging reusable options!)  You may bring your own gourmet picnic, or buy hampers.  The event is not BYO (Bring your own) alcohol, as a number of alcohol companies sponsor the event, and it’s difficult to get a licence for this.

These are more than enough words – let the pictures do the talking! There’s more traditions that I didn’t mention, so please feel free to ask.

White people congregating on a North Bondi street corner
White people congregating on a North Bondi street corner
What would all these people in white be doing?
What would all these people in white be doing?
Beautifully set tables
Beautifully set tables
White for as far as the eye can see
White for as far as the eye can see
People lugged flowers and urns to decorate their table - there was a competition
People lugged flowers and urns to decorate their table – there was a competition
So many tables!
So many tables!


Bondi Beach's former pavilion/kiosk decorated for the night
Bondi Beach’s former pavilion/kiosk decorated for the night
From here to the water's edge!
From here to the water’s edge!
I don't often like photos of myself, but this selfie is just lovely - you can see my halo shining (tongue in cheek!)
I don’t often like photos of myself, but this selfie is just lovely – you can see my halo shining (tongue in cheek!)  You can also the DJ behind, who played chilled out music til the dance floor opened
The hampers for sale
The hampers for sale
The eco friendly wrapping of the hamper items
The eco friendly wrapping of the hamper items
My darling, and a reflection of the event
My darling, and a reflection of the event
The waving of the serviettes is done en masse, and signals the start of the meal
The waving of the serviettes is done en masse, and signals the start of the meal

If you ever get the chance to attend a Diner en Blanc, take it! (this link has a button on the right that scrolls through other cities) They are magical. Sure, there’s a little preparation to get tables and chairs to the venue, but once you’re seated in a sea of white in a public location, you can’t help but think just how lovely life can be!

Thanksgiving – Aussie style

Australians’ don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.  But I read so many Canadian and American blogs that I can’t help but want to get involved with pumpkin pie, and I don’t mind some turkey.  So I thought I’d host my own dinner party!

I think I did it right – there’s no traditions to start with here, so I wanted to go for ‘normal’.

We had:

Turkey – I went for a rolled roast, with a simple ‘put in oven and cook for this long’.  Not zero waste, but zero risk of failure


Sweet potato fries – the BF likes there, and thanks to Economies of Kale for teaching me how – although mine never end up crispy.

Thanks EoK!
Thanks EoK!

Potato gallete – thinly sliced potato, with butter and garlic almost every layer.  MMM mmm.

mmm potato, already started too
mmm potato, already started too

Green beans – cause otherwise, it’s be a little monochromatic

The healthy part?
The healthy part?

Cheese and garlic biscuits – there’s nothing I love more than garlic, and cheese.  So even though I try to eat gluten free, well I didn’t on this night!

Oh yum yum yum
Oh yum yum yum

Stuffins – when you don’t have a real turkey, you don’t have a place for stuffing.  Thanks to pinterest, I had stuffins!

Don't look great
Don’t look great

There was no gravy, I’ve never mastered it.  There was a jar of cranberry sauce.

Dessert failed to be photographed – I made a pumpkin pie with a hazelnut meal base, and my mother made an apple pie, which was lucky, as not everyone has a taste for pumpkin pie here.

Here was my tablescape:

DSC_1259 DSC_1257

I can’t see any reason not to repeat this next year!

December Challenge: +1 walking

Firstly readers, let’s pretend it’s December 1 (for some readers, it might still be).  Today starts the +1 walking challenge.  Here’s how it works

1. Start by waking up a few minutes earlier than usual (I went for 5 minutes earlier than usual), and do a short walk (I figured I could fit in 15 minutes and not be late for work).

2. Tomorrow, walk up one minute earlier than yesterday.

3. Repeat, for 31 days.


See how I run: web interface for runkeeper.com
See how I run: web interface for runkeeper.com

Seems simple right?  And it is.  All you have to do is walk one minute longer each day.  If you start with 15 minutes on the first day, by the end of the challenge you’ll have walked 7.5 hours!! Not only that, you’ll feel healthier, which isn’t a bad thing.

For those in the southern hemisphere, December is a great month to work on waking up earlier because we’ve not yet hit the equinox on Dec 22 – which means every morning until then, there’s more minutes of sunshine for you to enjoy.  So it won’t get progressively darker each morning you wake up. (Sorry to those in the northern hemisphere!)

I actually read a great study that showed that when comparing two groups, those that exercised daily, even when they took a few days off, still burnt more calories on a high calorie diet than the control group. What this is saying, is that starting healthy, regular exercise habits will help you even when you take a break to eat Thanksgiving turkey (more on mine tomorrow) or Christmas ham.  Sounds just ideal, right?

Who’d like to join me?  I’m looking to have some partners in crime to help encourage and support the good, the bad, and the ugly of my attempts to do more exercise.  I’ll even offer some loopholes:

– you can walk any old time on your days off.  Look at that, I haven’t done away with sleep ins 🙂

– you can bank some time from those days off, for mornings (or evenings) where the 1 minute extension just seems like the straw that will break the camel’s back.

Basically, be nice to yourself! Try to get more and more minutes in each day, but don’t worry if life gets in the way.  Tomorrow is a new day.

I’ll be using this blog to check in weekly with my progress, and share my stats from Runkeeper.  I did actually start this Monday week ago, and so far I’ve not missed a day.,

So who’s in?  Who’d like to cheer me along?

A day on the job (as an electrical engineer)

Following the trend of some of my favourite blogs (Declutterer by Fiona and An Exacting Life by Dar), I’m posting a day in the life of an electrical engineer at a big power company in Sydney.  This is a hybridised version of how I think today should go based on other days!

5.38am – 6am: wake up to my alarm that’s progressively one minute earlier every day.  Get on my sports gear and head out for a run/walk of about 2kms

6am – 6.40am: shower, dress, eat breakfast, tidy the kitchen, read some of the bible, snuggle with BF and talk about day ahead

6.40am-6.55am: drive to work – the best part of this time of day is it’s not too busy, and we all know what we’re doing, there’s few ‘silly drivers’ and never crashes or breakdowns 😀

6.55am-7am: stop at the local cafe for a mocha (since the work coffee machine broke).  Love they know me and my order, and now have a bowl with change for us regulars to deposit our payments.

7am: Arrive at work, archive all the ‘blog’ emails, but click on a few favourites, and load one or two favourite blogs in the browser (that I don’t get via email).  Open work emails and read the latest.

7am -8.30am: Review spreadsheet of 12,000 notifications for tasks, focusing on the urgent (5) and priority categories (455 with 34 overdue).  Make phone calls with field supervisors to discuss the requirements of the oldest jobs – outage requirements, times of day, what their site visits established, what I can do to help resolve the notifications.  Draft a letter to customers advising them that the previously planned outage has been cancelled and work can now be completed without an outage.  Write paperwork for other switchings, reviewing the loading on the substation (low voltage: 240V/415V), looking at the isolation (low and high voltage (11kV) as the job requires), printing applicable maps, and attaching forms to be completed, before emailing them to all the required people. I must check if there’s any key customers, or medical customers if I’m planning an electricity outage, and ensure I meet them face to face, or speak to them on the phone, to be sure they understand the power outage and the impact on them.

8.30am-9am: Commute to another depot for a bi monthly meeting of the safety equipment and uniform committee, as I’m the female representative.

9am-11am: Review decisions on clothing and safety equipment (wonder about my post, if it went live automatically at 10am… if anyone is reading it yet ;))

11am-12pm: Drive to suburb to deliver the amended letters to the industrial customers that will no longer have an outage.  Drop by another depot to drop off old uniforms (from before the rebranding – the company assures us they are being recycled.  We’re not allowed to donate our clothing to charity without removing the logo, which effectively renders them useless).

12pm -12.15pm: Heat my lunch and chat to staff at this depot.  Discuss recent restructuring briefing, and bemoan the changes to the overall culture.

Photos of an asset impeded by the growth of vegetation
Photos of an asset impeded by the growth of vegetation

12.15pm – 1pm: Return to my usual office, via a site that I was emailed about in the morning.  There are concerns that foliage around the handle of the pole mounted equipment are impedding effective operation.  I take some photos of the issue to email to contract tree trimming.

1pm – 3.30pm: Forward email about tree trimming.  Read new work emails, forwarding and responding as necessary.  Review shared calendar to see if more work has been booked.  Review works planned for exactly two weeks time, and check another email inbox to check switching paperwork has been submitted.  Follow up with staff at another site about issues with submitting paperwork, and work through any issues.

3.30pm-4pm: I usually finish work at 3.30pm, however I don’t have anywhere to be straight after work, so I take the time to tidy my desk, and review my career episode reports (required to gain certification in my profession). This is required by my employer, but I feel it’s more appropriate to complete it after hours.

4pm-4.30pm: Commute to my parents house

5pm-5.45pm: Get physio on my right shoulder from a break two years ago, and on going niggles in my neck that are causing headaches.

5.45pm-9pm: Return to my parents home, for dinner with my family. Each of us kids takes turns when we get home (at various times) to follow our mother around and ‘download’ our day to her.  Don’t worry, she downloads in between too!  My brother leaves for South America on Saturday, so it’s the last time together as a family for 10 months.  Leave a pair of shorts with mum, to get new fabric for and have copied by her tailor.

9pm-9.30pm: Drive from my parents back to my house, and meet the BF whose enjoyed (?) another night alone on the couch, as I’ve already been out two nights in the week for water polo.

9.30pm: Attempt to be in bed, reading, after a quick shower.  The BF will either come to bed with me (if this time ‘creeps’), or lay with me before I start reading to have a chat about the day asking ‘what was good that happened in your day today?’ (Such a great way to focus the daily debrief in the positive!).  Change my morning alarm for 1min earlier.

How does this compare to your day?  Feel free to post about a day in your life!  And, I bet you’re wondering where I get all my blog reading and commenting in – well so do I! I’m lucky to have the smart phone in gaps of time, to catch up on posts.